From education to employment

AI: Powering the next generation of workers

In this article, the author discusses AI’s impact on workplace collaboration, productivity, training, industry changes and HR operations, emphasising the need for upskilling to maximise its benefits.

As organisations modernise the workplace to accommodate the demands of the evolving workforce demographic, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) has gained momentum. The availability of integrated AI platforms that provide easy access to AI assets has democratized the technology, thus promoting its widespread acceptance and adoption across enterprises. AI is fundamentally going to disrupt the way we work and some of the ways this will happen are:

AI-powered AR/VR collaboration spaces

The hybrid work model is a significant trend in the post-pandemic era. One can argue that it is not just a trend but a permanent shift in priorities and preferences. According to Infosys’ Future of Work report, 41% of companies plan to increase remote working hires in the next two years. Even if we do not consider hybrid work, achieving a seamless collaboration with geographically dispersed teams has always been a challenge for enterprises. Particularly in design and construction projects, immersive 3D experiences powered by VR-assisted AI platforms can deliver much better value than traditional video conferencing tools. It can also be used in training and reskilling of employees. Additionally, interacting with virtual life-like avatars that mimic your actions can help geographically disparate team members maintain human connections.

New AI-powered tools

AI assistants equipped with natural language processing and generative AI capabilities can improve employee productivity and well-being by eliminating mundane and tedious work like taking meeting notes, making presentations and reports, scheduling meetings, raising tickets for service requirements, filling out paperwork, and more. Employees can devote time to more intellectually fulfilling tasks and projects they are passionate about, improving job satisfaction and employee retention. Voice-controlled AI assistants armed with capabilities like computer vision, speech processing, and generation can be leveraged to create accessibility solutions for the differently-abled, thus increasing their participation in the workforce.

Transformation of training and learning

It is imperative for the new generation of workers to constantly upskill themselves in the ever-evolving technology landscape. AI can help contextualize the learning content in the right format and create personalized training plans. AI chatbots and recommendation engines can also enhance the learning experience.  Generative AI will augment the capabilities of existing AI learning assistants.

Industry and function-specific shifts

Depending on the business function or the industry, AI will fundamentally change the nature of jobs. Employees will have to adapt to the new ways of working for seamless human-machine collaboration.  For example, in marketing, writing marketing collaterals, or engaging social media posts is getting automated. Legal teams will be able to review and summarize reports and texts, analyse legal documents for assessing various clauses, and so on.  Software developers will be leveraging Generative AI to write code which will improve their productivity and reduce time to market. In industries like manufacturing, AI will help engineers in predictive maintenance, quality inspection, designing, and planning, thus empowering them to do their jobs better.

AI is not just helping knowledge workers but also empowering multiple workers across the value chain. For a worker in the last mile delivery, AI can find the most optimal route to their destination or aid in warehouse processes. Computer vision is also making it possible to ensure employees are staying compliant with safety protocols. In Infosys campuses, we used computer vision to detect whether employees were wearing face masks during Covid.

Transforming HR operations

AI has been helping HR leaders glean valuable insights to enable the workforce. Workplace analytics data helps leaders understand collaboration patterns across the organisation, break down organizational silos and address issues like stress and work overload caused by the blurring lines between work and personal space. Such analysis is helping businesses improve manager-team engagement and job satisfaction.

Organisations must therefore actively invest in upskilling and reskilling employees so that they are able to work alongside these AI systems and fully leverage them.  The focus for leaders will be to integrate AI seamlessly into day-to-day tasks and promote harmony between people, processes, and technology. The key idea is to reduce friction and resistance to new ways of working.  In doing so they won’t just be allaying fears of AI taking over jobs but also increasing productivity, improving job satisfaction, and driving sustainable growth.

By Balakrishna D. R. (Bali), Executive Vice President – Global Head AI and Automation and ECS, Infosys

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Bali leads the AI and Automation practice at Infosys and helps clients transform their businesses by leveraging AI. He also drives the adoption of AI and automation within Infosys in all service offerings and internal functions to improve efficiency and drive differentiation. As a practice leader he is responsible for competency development, building service offerings, solutions, platforms, and partnerships in this space.

Bali works with governments, think tanks, academia, industries, and other regulatory bodies on AI adoption and responsible and ethical use of AI.

Bali is also responsible for delivery in energy, utilities, services, communication, and media segments (ECS) for Infosys.

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